Three-dimensional imaging mass cytometry for highly multiplexed molecular and cellular mapping of tissues and the tumor microenvironment.

Laura Kuett, Raúl Catena, Alaz Özcan, Alex Plüss, Peter Schraml, Holger Moch, Natalie de Souza, Bernd Bodenmiller, Nature cancer 3, 122-133 (2022)


A holistic understanding of tissue and organ structure and function requires the detection of molecular constituents in their original three-dimensional (3D) context. Imaging mass cytometry (IMC) enables simultaneous detection of up to 40 antigens and transcripts using metal-tagged antibodies but has so far been restricted to two-dimensional imaging. Here we report the development of 3D IMC for multiplexed 3D tissue analysis at single-cell resolution and demonstrate the utility of the technology by analysis of human breast cancer samples. The resulting 3D models reveal cellular and microenvironmental heterogeneity and cell-level tissue organization not detectable in two dimensions. 3D IMC will prove powerful in the study of phenomena occurring in 3D space such as tumor cell invasion and is expected to provide invaluable insights into cellular microenvironments and tissue architecture.